Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that causes a variety of troubling and uncomfortable symptoms.
CBD (cannabidiol) is a dietary supplement that shows promise as an effective pain reliever. CBD may be a beneficial supplement for those living with fibromyalgia pain.
An Explanation of Fibromyalgia Syndrome
Those who live with fibromyalgia experience pain throughout their bodies, in their ligaments, tendons, and muscles.
The American Pain Society considers fibromyalgia to be caused by a dysfunction of the central nervous system.
Fibromyalgia pain does not typically respond to over-the-counter or opioid medications.
Fibromyalgia is a diagnosis of exclusion, which can be frustrating for fibro patients and their doctors.
The symptoms of fibromyalgia are comparable to several other health conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, depression, and lupus.
Some of the common symptoms of fibromyalgia listed by The Fibromyalgia Support Network include:
- Widespread pain of an unknown origin
- Morning stiffness
- Fatigue that is not resolved by sleep
- Muscle spasms and cramps
- Cognitive impairment (fibro fog)
- Sleep disturbances
- Headaches or migraines
- Sensitivity to sound or light
- Problems with balance
- Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
Traditional Fibromyalgia Treatments
As you can see, fibromyalgia affects many systems and functions within the body.
Physicians often prescribe anti-depressants and anticonvulsants (known to alleviate nerve pain) to relieve fibromyalgia symptoms.
Unfortunately, these treatment options are not always effective or well-tolerated, prompting many fibromyalgia patients to turn towards alternative treatment options such as acupuncture, massage, and medical marijuana.
An Explanation of CBD Products
Cannabis has been available for thousands of years and used to treat a variety of ailments throughout history, including pain.
CBD (cannabidiol) is extracted from the hemp plant (cannabis satvia), a member of the cannabis family.
According to Leafly.com, CBD may offer all the benefits of medical marijuana without the intoxicating effects of the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in the marijuana plant.
CBD oil is a highly concentrated plant extract. Some CBD products are made with full- spectrum CBD, which contains all the cannabinoids, flavors and natural plant terpenes of the source plants.
Full-spectrum CBD does contain trace amounts of THC, but not enough to cause any form of intoxication. That’s why it is legal to manufacture, sell and purchase CBD products.
Full-spectrum CBD can be further refined to a CBD isolate. CBD isolate is flavorless and odorless, and all trace amounts of THC are removed.
Whether created from full-spectrum CBD or isolate, CBD products can be applied topically, taken orally, vaped, or purchased in a variety of sweets and treats.
To understand the effects of CBD on fibromyalgia, it may be necessary to know how CBD works within your body.
When you understand how CBD works, it is easy to see the benefits of CBD supplements for fibromyalgia symptoms.
Your Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system is a relatively new, exciting field of study and there is still much to be learned.
What has been learned is quite fascinating. Your body is already equipped to work with cannabidiol through your endocannabinoid system.
Your endocannabinoid system is a complicated messaging system, neurotransmitters, and receptors, that prompt a response from your brain.
CBD Instead explains in this article, that your ECS is responsible for controlling or regulating many functional systems, including the activities and functions impacted by fibromyalgia syndrome.
Some of the functions regulated by your ECS include:
- Pain regulation and perception
- Sleep regulation
- Temperature regulation
- Cardiovascular function
- Immune system function
- Digestion and appetite
- Emotional responses
How Cannabinoids Affect Your Endocannabinoid System
Your body produces endocannabinoids, mainly 2-arachidonoyl (2-AG) and anandamide.
These neurotransmitters are created as needed and broken down quickly by enzymes. Anandamide is responsible for pain reduction, the more anandamide in your system, the less pain you feel.
CBD is an external cannabinoid (exogenous) that interacts with your endocannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) that are located throughout your body.
The CBD 1 receptors in your brain are responsible for memory and emotion, while CB1 receptors in your nerve endings are responsible for pain perception.
CB2 receptors are found concentrated within the cells of your immune system.
When activated by a messenger, such as CBD, CB2 receptors facilitate a reduction in inflammation.
Inflammation is believed to cause many serious health concerns, such as autoimmune disorders, heart disease, and diabetes.
Exogenous cannabinoids, like CBD, are typically stronger and longer lasting than the endocannabinoids produced within your body.
The exogenous cannabinoids in CBD supplements do not bind directly to CB1 and CB2 receptors.
They work by inhibiting the enzymes that break down the endocannabinoids produced by your body and increase the amount of anandamide in your system.
CBD in Fibromyalgia Management
The most effective fibromyalgia treatments would restore balance to the central nervous system and the many affected systemic processes.
According to an article on Healthline.com, cannabidiol appears to work with your endocannabinoid system (ECS) and helps your brain restore that balance.
Some benefits of dietary supplementation with CBD for those living with Fibromyalgia may include:
- Decreased pain levels and morning stiffness
- Improved sleep quality (which may further reduce pain levels)
- Reduced fatigue and increased energy levels
- Improved digestive function
- Reduction or elimination of nausea
- Improved temperature regulation
- An Enhanced Immune system function
It is essential to remember that CBD is considered a dietary supplement. While there are many scientific reports and testimonials from CBD enthusiasts, no medical claims can be made at this time.
If you are enticed enough to want to learn more about CBD and its influence on your endocannabinoid system, you may want to check out this YouTube video submitted by Fundacion CANNA.
This video selection provides a well-illustrated, easy to understand explanation of the benefits of CBD supplements and the effects of cannabidiol on your body.
You will also learn about the discovery of the endocannabinoid system and how cannabinoids facilitate homeostasis (balance).
Cannabis plants have been used for centuries to alleviate pain and promote health.
The study of how the cannabinoids from the hemp plant affect your endocannabinoid system is relatively new.
Preliminary studies suggest that CBD supplementation could be quite beneficial to those living with the debilitating symptoms of fibromyalgia.